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Too Damn Hot ( ficlet; Samurai Deeper Kyo)

Title: Too Damn Hot
Author: opalmatrix
Warnings: Perhaps not worksafe. Near-nudity, m/m desires
Pairing(s): [Saizo/Yukimura]
Spoilers: Aokigahara Forest arc
Notes: For smillaraaq, who wanted Saizo and his unrequited devotion to his master; with apologies to thewriter0, who wrote a very fine Saiyuki fic with almost the same title and punchline. (It also seems to me that I've read another story that starts out the same general way, but I can't find it anywhere. If there really is such a story, props and apologies to the author.)
Summary: The Sanada Ten's hot weather pastime of choice is only inflaming Saizo's problems further.

It's breathlessly hot today, although Saizo's perch on the rocks overlooking the deep little valley catches what breeze there is. It also provides a good vantage point for the watch he's supposed to be keeping over his lord and his comrades. And if he looks more or less straight down, he can see all of them, wearing next to nothing, splashing and swimming in the cold waters of the mountain stream that carved out the valley itself.

He's trying not to look.

He doesn't want to see his lord's compactly muscled body, catlike in its grace as he leaps into the deep pool among the rocks, almost as naked as the day he was born. He's afraid of what will happen if he watches Sanada Saemon-no-Suke Yukimura climb out again onto the rocks, flip the sodden locks of blue-black hair back from his face with one long-fingered hand, and laugh like a boy who has never taken a blow from a sword. He doesn't want to gaze upon the well-muscled back with its golden skin, and the firm ass almost completely revealed by the fundoshi that was the only thing he wore ... .

Saizo bites the heel of his own hand viciously and snatches his eyes away from the merry scene below. Mostly he manages to keep his feelings hidden even from himself. Serving a lord such as Yukimura, who treats even his enemies with honor, is a privilege. And he, Kirikagure Saizo, is the leader of the innermost circle of Yukimura's warriors: there is no room in that duty for a boyish infatuation with his leader.

Yukimura-sama knows almost everything. Why doesn't he know about this?

Someone's coming up the path from the bathing spot. He knows it's Anayama Kosuke, and he's relieved. She is probably the only person he could stand to see right now: she has known him since she was a little girl of 8 or 9, brought home by Yukimura-sama's father because of her resemblance to his sons, and he was just a journeyman ninja.

She's smiling as she walks up to him, refreshed from her swim. With her damp hair pulled back, and wearing a woman's yukata for the walk back to the compound, she doesn't look nearly as much like Yukimura-sama as she usually does, and he's very glad of it.

"Saizo-san. Why don't you go down and at least take a quick dip? I can keep watch for a few moments."

He glances down at the bathing party again. Yukimura is perched on a rock, stretching, making the muscles along his ribs flow and ripple. Saizo hastily turns back to Kosuke, mouth set: "No!"

She knows. They have been comrades together for so many years. She's seen this thing grow in him. "Saizo ... you need to tell him."

"Kosuke-san, there's no point. You know how he jokes: 'If I slept with one of you, I'd have to sleep with all of you.' Except that he's not joking."

She sighs and steps closer, winding her arms around herself as though she's cold, despite the heat. "Yes. Sasuke-san used to tell me the same thing."

For a moment, what she's saying makes no sense. The only Sasuke in their lives these days is the feral little boy whom Yukimura-sama brought back from the Aokigahara forest. Then he remembers what he's tried to forget, and his face flushes with anger. "That traitor!" he says.

"Yes. He was."

Her voice is soft and deep, and that's not all. She's turning to go, her head bowed. His mind finally awakes to what she was really saying, and he's speechless for a moment. But he can see how it could have happened, all too easily. "Kosuke - I didn't know."

"You wouldn't have. And I shouldn't have told you - you have enough burdens." She shakes her head and then takes a deep breath. "I'd better go."

He can't think of anything to do or say, which makes him angry with himself. But he is her commander, not her elder brother, and perhaps it's better to let her withdraw with dignity. "Later, then," he says. And then watches her straighten her back, assume her usual calmly amused expression, and walk away.

That certainly didn't make me feel any better.

Still, somehow his mood has shifted, ever so slightly. His feelings are duller, more manageable, and he can let himself watch the object of his affections - who has, to Saizo's relief, wrapped himself in his own yukata, and settled in the shade to watch the cheerful mayhem in the water. Yukimura looks refreshed, serene, and cool - but still, from where Saizo sits, he's too damn hot.



Aug. 7th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
I think I've told the story before, but I was idly watching the SDK anime at the same time I was first watching the Reload anime -- the English dubs of both were running on a cable channel. Reload was enough of a gateway drug to get me hooked on the Saiyuki manga even before the full cycle of episodes had run through, whereas SDK I just sort of shrugged at as being a cute AU, nothing I felt the need to look for more of until running across Cho and Megan and other SDK fans assured me it was much, much better. (And it is -- about a third of the way through, I still wouldn't say it has the depth of characterization or philosophical overtones of Minekura at her best, but if you like epic sprawling cast-of-thousands action-heavy seinen series, it's quite good.)

The only bit of the anime you really need to see is about 4:40 in this clip, and you'll see why I latched onto the idea that Saizo's feelings for his lord might be a bit more than strictly dutiful. ;) (Although you might hear a very familiar voice if you watch the whole thing...something I didn't realize at the time, thanks to initally watching the dubs, was how many of the Saiyuki seiyuu are also in SDK! All of the main guys but Gojyo have recurring parts -- Hoshi's got a relatively small but important part, Akira is the second Sasuke mentioned here in the fic, in prime creepy-little-kid mode, and Seki actually has one of the major characters...although you may be a bit disappointed because a lot of the time his character sounds more than a bit dorky.)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 8th, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)

I was just utterly charmed that Saizo's only concern, when given such a strange request, would be to fuss about making sure his lord isn't cross-dressed in something *unappealing*, and that Yukimura is so utterly blase about accepting his concern. :)


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